See it Early - Stop it Fast This is one of a series of articles on Biosecurity prepared by the Almond Board of Australia and Plant Health Australia
we see, then the consequences can be disastrous.” “Known not to occur” There’s been a big change in the pest -free requirements for overseas trade. Previously, to be able to trade produce overseas it was sufficient to be able to say that a pest was ‘not known to occur’ in a given area. That is, to be able to say “I haven’t seen it, therefore we’re saying its not there”. Increasingly now, the requirements for overseas trade are much stricter under World Trade Organisation rules. You have to be able to say the
Evidence and how to check To meet the ‘known not to occur’ test, growers must have evidence of a regular crop and orchard inspection program. More details of exactly what this means for (industry) growers can be obtained from both Plant Health Australia and the Office of the Chief Plant Protection Officer (OCPPO). Plant Health Australia has prepared draft surveillance strategies for the grains, cotton, citrus and apple & pear industries. What to look for So what exotic pest threats should growers and agronomists be on the look out for? In preparing our Nut Industry Biosecurity Plan, the Almond Board and government experts determined a list of the highest risk pests for our industry (see insert box below). More details about them are in the Biosecurity Plan which can be obtained from www.phau.com.au or from the Almond Board of Australia. What happens when you report? Reporting is easy. Simply call the Emergency Plant Pest Hotline on 1800 084 881 if you have seen something unusual, or Want more info? If you would like more information, get of a copy of our Biosecurity Plan. You can download it at www.planthealthaustralia.com.au
Exotic pests have the potential to cause huge production losses and trade problems for farm businesses and the broader Almond industry. When it comes to dealing with exotic pest incursions, speed is of the essence – speed in detection and speed in response. Having growers constantly on the lookout for something unusual in their orchard or crop provides our best chance of picking up exotic pests early and mounting a response in enough time to successfully eradicate them. Growers’ eyes and experience are the most important tools that we have. “So many growers just don’t realise how important this is”, said Julie Haslett, CEO of Almond Board of Australia. “They and their employees are with the orchard every day. It’s not so different from skin cancers really – we all know to watch out for them, if we see one early and have it treated, there’s every likelihood it won’t spread. But if we don’t notice it, or ignore one
pest is ’known not to occur’. That is, “I have actively looked for this particular pest and can say to an internationally accepted level of confidence that I know it does not exist in my crop and orchard”. The official term for this is active surveillance. “That’s a much tougher test,
and follow the links to “Project Documents” and “Biosecurity Plans” or request it on disk by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or phoning Plant Health Australia on 02 6260 4322.
and one more and more growers, and indeed the entire industry will need to meet if they want to be able to trade their produce overseas or even interstate”, said Haslett “We know it may mean more work for some, but it’s just good orchard management practice, and can easily be incorporated into normal crop inspections by our growers and their agronomists”.